Justice for Kamsisomwa forcibly displaced farmers
The meaning of Kamsisomwa is the farmers from the areas of Kasakati, Msimba, Songambele and Mwasha remote agricultural areas from within three villages in Kigoma region. We have been cultivating there since 1991 and in 2008 we came into conflict with forest guards from the Jane Goodall Institute who cooperated with the police. We united in 2012 to demand our rights together after being tortured against the law. After making the group we have asked for help from different leaders, but because we are small scale farmers they have failed to help us. Now the aim of our group is to find donors to give us some money (like 15000$) so as to pay for the lawyers who will help us take this case to the court.
The reason for our suffering is that from 2010 the project of REDD+ was implemented in our area, however we were not involved in the planning of the project and we refused to accept it. They made the project without the consent of all the people living in our areas, which are closer to the forest. After the project started we were beaten by forest guards from the project of REDD+ and a related conservation program. They were supported by the local police force and government. They came with heavy weapons like
sub-machine guns, pistols, to make us feel afraid like they were going to kill us. People were forced to stare at the sun for some hours so until now they cannot see well. People were forced to eat soap. Also we were given matches in order to burn our houses. So houses were burnt and the property inside them because we were not permitted to remove everything from our houses. After burning our houses they used to beat us like animals. After that they forced people to go to their farm to slash all crops which were not mature. So people went and slashed their plants like banana trees, cassava, palm oil and maize. They took some animals like goats cows and hens, they used to shoot dogs. Some valuable things they used to take, like bicycles and
Some of our village leaders were working with the project, others were sympathetic and assisted us to write complaint letters however these efforts were not enough to prevent the human rights abuses of the project
of REDD+. After seeing the different actions that happened in different villages, we shared information amongst ourselves, the people who were tortured. We started to make meetings in order to discuss the issues and to cry together. We decided to sit and follow the procedures to complain about our torture. We discussed and collected money and tried to do some local work in order to send some people to court to claim for our rights. We succeeded in collecting together some money, and in discussing with some lawyers, however most of our money was used up in expenses because we are small scale farmers.
We have been several times to different government offices from the level of the Village, Ward, Division up to the District to explain about our problem. However, nobody cares and we were not helped. We were faced with many challenges and the challenges are that even in the offices where we are received well and assisted with expenses, nobody resolved our issues. We were given nice words and then we went back home. We lack enough money to support our issue and knowledge about our rights. After discovering some
of our leaders are against us we sent our claims to the honourable president, who sent a request assigning our leaders to work on it, but until now we fail to reach a solution. Until now we have not claimed our
legal rights because of low income, our poverty. Until now, we have decided to go to the radio station media. If we have enough money we can finish our issue. That’s why the farmers from Kamsisomwa group we decided to sit together to send our complaints to the social media. We have a blog about
our case on the REDD+ Monitor website at: